TEDxManukau Speaker Sully Paea

Sully Paea grew up in Niue and immigrated to Auckland, New Zealand in the 1960s. His grandfather encouraged the family to visit New Zealand, describing it as the land of opportunity and flowing with “milk & honey”.  Instead, Sully discovered Lion Red, Steinlager, Rock & Roll and women. These influences quickly lead him on a path to alcoholism and gang-related activities.

By the grace of God and the support of a caring relative, Sully’s life was turned around and he began his journey of investing his time and energy into the improving the lives of youth in Otara, a lower socio-economic region of Auckland.  In 1979, with a dream and a passion to serve his community, he took a leap of faith and began youth work. The next fifteen years working in the grassroots of Otara lead Sully to establish ‘Crosspower NZ’ in 1994, a social & youth work organisation which has influenced locally, nationally and internationally.

Crosspower NZ has seen generations of young people flood through its youth programmes, community projects and employment initiatives carrying a heart of “breaking down walls and building bridges”. Thousands of lives have been impacted and range from “at-risk” young people successfully integrating back into further education or employment to world dance champions travelling internationally.

His dream and passion since 1979 has not changed and 36 years on, Sully continues to invest in the lives of young people. He has the same passion to keep going, to keep pressing on and to invite as many young people as he can on the exciting journey of life.  Sully is living proof that one person can make a difference.